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E-commerce in Colombia, a business opportunity

Internet transactions represent 2.6% of GDP in Colombia, i.e. about 5 billion dollars, according to estimates of the Colombian Chamber of E-Commerce.
E-commerce in Colombia, a business opportunity

E-commerce is currently booming in Colombia. In fact, a study carried out by Visa and Euromonitor calculated that sales in virtual stores last year reached 3,100 million dollars. An 18% rise on 2014, when sales reached 2,620 million dollars. At this rate of growth Colombian e-Commerce would surpass 5 billion dollars in 2018.

This means that Colombia has become an emerging e-Commerce power in Latin America, as demonstrated by four of its most representative cities, Bogotá, Medellín, Cali and Barranquilla, which have climbed in the Ranking of Best Cities for Doing Business in Latin America, published by América Economía.

Another study by Mercado Libre indicated that this rise in the use of e-Commerce is partly due to a thriving ecosystem of purchasers, a growing offer, better internet access, logistical facilities and improving practices in security aspects.

Another thing to take into account, according to the research, is "the natural transition of Millennials to become the main internet purchasers, generating a situation in which not only do they buy more often online, but their purchases get ever bigger". The strongest are range for purchases by digital means is 15 to 45 years.

"When the first experience consumers have is a successful one, they will most likely be encouraged to buy again on the internet, and over time they tend to make more and bigger purchases", said Andrés Robatel, Sales & Marketing Manager for MercadoLibre in Colombia.

The study also analyzes the online buyer, and highlights that this buyer profile corresponds to 55% men and 45% women, who make their searches from mobile devices in almost 60% of cases, in what is undoubtedly an increase in use and use penetration and in trust in the internet accessed from such equipment.

But what is purchased? Technology is one of the sectors presenting most possibilities and offers online. This reflects a clear technological trend, which is followed by interest in healthy living and mobility.

"We are seeing growing interest in technology, including increasingly high-end mobile devices with internet access, as well as in the trends and developments brought by brands. And also, of course, in brands that maximize extreme or dynamic sports lifestyles. And, regardless of the object, the online scenario is important in making the decision to buy", added Andrés Robatel.

Although significant headway has been made, it is still necessary to expand coverage and improve the experience of users so that they will always want to come back, as high and proven reliability will give users the assurance to make ever more and bigger purchases in the digital medium.

At the same time, e-Commerce in Colombia does face significant barriers: one is logistics. It may take several days for a product purchased on the internet to be delivered to certain municipalities, and this at a time when online shoppers are getting ever less patient.

Another major barrier to expanding online sales is user fears of electronic fraud. Young people, aged between 25 and 35 years, are currently those who most trust electronic payment and who make most use of online stores.




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